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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  March 22, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: coalition bombs pounded libyan targets for a fourth day, while moammar qaddafi's forces shelled rebels in two western towns. good evening. i'm gwen ifill. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the newshour tonight, we have reports on the fighting and the jet in the east. and we talk to libya's ambassador to the united states, ali suleiman aujali, who denounced moammar qaddafi last month. >> ifill: then, margaret warner looks at rifts within the nato alliance about the libya mission. >> brown: from japan, we get the latest on the cleanup in the hard-hit city of sendai.
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>> it might not seem much to you, but believe me it's a huge step that you now can actually drive up at the airport's departure terminal. >> ifill: and judy woodruff interviews japan's ambassador to the u.s., ichiro fujisaki. >> brown: special correspondent steve sapienza reports from bangladesh on the struggle to meet the basic needs of an exploding population. >> dahka is one of the world's fastest growing cities and one of the poorest. with 2,000 newcomers daily the struggle to find clean water in the slums often has life threatening consequences. >> ifill: and ray suarez examines what a merger between at&t and t-mobile would mean for consumers and the wireless industry. that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> oil companies have changed my country. >> oil companies can make a difference. >> we have the chance to build the economy. >> create jobs, keep people healthy and improve schools.
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public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> brown: moammar qaddafi showed no sign of backing down today, even as u.s. and british submarines fired another 20 cruise missiles at targets in libya. he appeared for the first time since the coalition attacks began on saturday. earlier tanks and troops local to qaddafi blasted a town near the tunisian border and the city of misrata east of tripoli. the u.s. task force commander, admiral samuel locklear, said the coalition was "considering all options" on how to respond. we have a series of reports from independent television news, beginning with john ray in tripoli. >> reporter: coalition air strikes are hitting home. the evidence showed forth by the libyans themselves
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destroying targets with precision. the twisted and charred is what remains after six tomahawk cruise missiles smashed into a naval base punching deep into concrete, leaving gaping craters. and long after last night's attack fire still burns and the ruins smolder. these are the remains of a multi-barrel rocket launcher. although the libyan authorities have talked repeatedly about civilian casualties this was a purely military target hit, it appears, with pinpoint accuracy. some of the weaponry on display looks as old as the regime itself. and the libyans insist this was merely a training facility. >> believe me, no anti-rockets, no anti-bombs, just workshop here. >> reporter: three nights of bombing appear only to haveen
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flamed the passions of qaddafi's well drilled followers. but look across green square and they barely philadelphia tiny corner. even in the heart of the capital among the fervor and the fear, we found one man brave enough to voice dissent. as we speak, his hands shake. but he wants to tell us the demonstrations we've been brought to witness are a sham. tell me what the real tripoli is. >> the real tripoli is against the regime. >> reporter: this is misrata, the last city in the west in rebel hands, seen now of a bloody last stand. the hospitals are full. the city is being shelled. its citizens picked off by snipers. and these are the bodies of four children from the same family. it's impossible to bury... verify any of the horrors taking place here but this is what one local doctor told us. >> and they shoot the porch,
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two boys and two girls are shot. you know? you couldn't look, you couldn't see. you know. i couldn't even look to them. >> reporter: qaddafi's defenses are proving no match for the western military power but his regime still stands. it is still lethal. >> ifill: the day also brought the first loss by u.s. forces since the libya campaign began saturday. a u.s. attack plane went down last night outside benghazi. the u.s. military blamed mechanical failure, not hostile fire. both crewmen were picked up safe and sound, but, in the process, their rescuers mistakenly attacked friendly civilians. martin geissler reports on that incident, and the day's other developments in the east. >> reporter: in the field outside benghazi a crowd
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gathers on the wreckage of an american f-15 fighter that crashed early this morning. the pilots ejected unharmed but the operation to collect them from inside friendly territory seems to have gone badly wrong. eyewitnesses here say a rescue helicopter came to pick up the pilots but when its crew saw the pilot around if plane they fired on them. five people were injured. they're being treated in hospital in benghazi but remarkably they say they bear no grudges. "if they just would stop shooting we would have escorted the pilots to safety. we were just trying to have a celebration for him." that kind of spirit and bravery runs right through the rebel ranks. government tanks rolling into benghazi on saturday, and full of men on foot took it on and won. fired on them but they stood their ground. when they fired back with a rocket-propelled grenade the tank's crew surrendered.
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but the rebels can't win this conflict with bravery alone. even after the allied air strikes, this largely amateur army is outgunned by the government forces. the rebel advance has halted outside where qaddafi's troops have regrouped. this ex-air force colonel is trying to coordinate the rebels from the cab of his pick-up truck. he told me he'd been living here for four days. you say you fight with your heart. but do you also need international help? >> yes. international help. >> reporter: international help would make a massive difference, he said. and as the fighting continues, so too the stream of casualties. this man was called to the mortuary to identify his brother. he was caught in the gun fire. they aren't the only victims of this war. i >> brown: the libyan government insisted again today that large numbers of civilians are being killed in the coalition strikes.
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and in moscow, russian president dmitry medvedev said he's concerned about "indiscriminate" use of force. but after meeting with medyedev, u.s. defense secretary robert gates rejected the criticism. >> the vast majority if not nearly all civilian casualties have been inflicted by qaddafi. most of our targets, virtually all of our targets are isolated non-populated areas. it's almost as though some people here are taking at face value qaddafi's claims about the number of civilian casualties which as far as i'm concerned is just outright lies. >> ifill: both russia and china called today for a cease-fire in libya. meanwhile, spain and the arab state of qatar joined the coalition. and france called for a new steering committee working outside nato to oversee the military operation. that would get around the divisions that have opened up within the alliance.
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>> brown: and we're joined now by ambassador ali suleiman aujali. he was once qaddafi's envoy to washington, but denounced the libyan leader after violence first broke out. he now maintains close communication with the opposition based in benghazi. welcome to you. >> thank you very much. >> brown: i want to ask you first about late-breaking news. secretary of state hillary clinton apparently in an interview with abc said that qaddafi, she's hearing that qaddafi may be exploring some exile options. although this is unconfirmed. do you know anything about this? >> well, i hope so. but people that know qaddafi very well, that may be the st option. i never expect qaddafi will leave the country alive. >> brown: you don't expect that. >> i don't expect that. i think qaddafi has no place to go. i don't think that he will be... permit himself to be handled by the international community court of justice. that is a humiliation for him. i think he would maybe have to face his destiny. if he agreed to leave libya, i think this is the best thing
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he did in his own life, for his life, you know, and for the people. >> brown: let me ask you, in these reports we're seeing it does appear his forces still continue to be on offensive at least in some areas. what are the sources that you talked to? what do they tell you about how effective the bombing campaign has been so far? >> oh, the bombing is very effective. if the coalition did not hit the tankers heading to benghazi i can assure you between 100,000-150,000 lives would be lost. you can see the change. you can see the situation has completely changed. they are marching toward the west. now they are close. the target which now has to be hit surrounding misrata. under qaddafi now some of his forces are inside the city.
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there are snipers there and the people are suffering for the last three weeks. something has to be done to break the siege again allowing.... >> brown: but is there a command structure in place? is there an organization in place among the opposition forces that can capitalize on whatever openings come from the bombing? >> well, of course. that would be no problem. they will come out and they will cheer. they will come together to stop the qaddafi's forces from surrounding the cities. they will open the old exit of the city and they can move ahead. >> brown: even to break the siege requires some command structure, some coordination of forces had that are sometimes referred to as rag tag. >> i think the two cities they need the help from outside. the people that are resisting the qaddafi forces not to let them inside the city. to get inside the cities the forces there will mercy nobody they catch. >> brown: what kind of help from outside? >> i think we need the
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coalition. they need to hit the forces of qaddafi outside of the city. they have to discriminate, of course, between the friend and the enemy. and the regime forces now they're taking the human shield from the neighboring villages to bring them to misrata. >> brown: the u.s., of course, throughout has said there will be no boots on the ground in the terminology. have you asked for that? do you foresee some circumstance where even smaller special forces or some kind of foreign forces could be called upon or needed? >> well, i think, you know, i believe this is where... was very clear from the beginning that i think if we have forces, it will be a problem not only for libya but for the population. there are so many people that have a different idea of the intervention of the international forces. even we ask for it. i think maybe for the special
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operation that something can be done quickly. maybe that can be negotiable. >> brown: smaller special operation forces? >> yeah, i think this may be required. i think this would have to be decided by the council, the internal council. but i think as far as there is no regular troops taking part in the fighting, that is my concern. >> brown: now as you know in this country one of the continuing questions here has been who exactly are we helping? who makes up the opposition? i saw a quote from former u.s. diplomat nicholas burns who put it quite bluntly and said we have to recognize this situation for what it really is. the first time in american history when we have use our military power to prop up and possibly put in power a group of people we literally do not know. >> i tell my friend, nick burns, you are helping the people who are against the regime. they are doctors. they have professors.
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they are students. they are workers. they are all kind of the population. you're not helping al qaeda. you're not helping extremists. you are helping the real libyan people who have been waiting for this moment for more than 40 years ago. and this is the time to help them. these questions have to be asked later because you will never have a worse regime than what we have now. >> brown: but in help them, are we also helping islamic, more extremist groups that you referred to who also want to get rid of qaddafi. >> where is the extremist? qaddafi is talking about al quite a. this is an easy accusation qaddafi's government is making just to frighten the west, just to make them suspicious of what they are helping. you are helping libyan people who have been suffering under this regime. now they can see a light at
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the end of the tunnel. they have to make their life. believe me, the libyans are very capable to have a democratic country, to have a real relation with the neighboring country, with the arabs. if this regime stayed behind, america and the coalition, they will suffer more than the libyans. >> brown: you put it the other way of asking is, if the opposition wins, is it clear what is at the end of this? what kind of libyan government would there be? >> you will have a democratic government. that's what libyans have been asking for the help of the international community to get rid of this regime who hurts everybody. west and east. he's been cheating his people. what the forces local to qaddafi are fighting for. can you tell me? they're fighting for one family to stay in power for more than 42 years. who supports this regime?
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who will have the sympathy for this regime? you are helping people who are trying to get for the first time in their history ka gafy in power to see the sun again. libya is a big country with a small population. these people have been suffering for a long time. so many debates talking about the constitution of the united states. we told the international community don't speak about cults but we are a rich country. we'll take care of that. this debate about constitution is not the time for it. now the mission has to be completed. qaddafi must be out. that's now our goal. the commission's goal should be this one. we'll debate later on about the constitution. >> brown: ambassador, thank you very much. >> thank you very much. >> ifill:
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there's more on libya coming up; european divisions over the mission; plus, japan's struggle to recover; water worries in bangladesh; and the winners and losers in the wireless merger. but first, with the other news of the day, here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: the opposition in yemen rejected an offer by president ali abdullah saleh today to step down by the end of the year. he refused to go any sooner, despite protests that have escalated since security forces killed more than 40 demonstrators on friday. saleh also warned army officers and tribal leaders not to follow top commanders who joined the opposition yesterday. >> any dissent within the military institution will negatively effect the whole nation. those who want to climb to power through coups should know that this is out of question. the homeland will not be stable. there will be a civil war, a bloody war. >> sreenivasan: despite that warning, tanks manned by pro- and anti-government troops faced off in the capital city, sanaa. and tens of thousands of protesters demanded saleh resign now. they chanted, "the people want the fall of the regime." unrest in syria spread today.
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dshurend o ipereleopn the south marched against the governmt le for the fifth straight day. the protests were in daraa, where troops killed seven protesters over the weekend, and in the town of nawa, near the border with jordan. meanwhile, the syrian government fired the governor of the province that is home to daraa. in egypt, a fire raged through the interior ministry building. flames could be seen rising from the top floors of the complex in central cairo. an egyptian security official said police protesting for higher pay had started the blaze. protesters denied the charge. instead, they claimed the fire started as ministry workers burned files to destroy evidence of human rights abuses. wall street cooled off today after a three-day rally. the dow jones industrial average lost nearly 18 points to close at 12,018. the nasdaq fell eight points to close at 2683. and the price of oil closed just short of $105 a barrel in new york amid concerns over libya and other oil states. a federal judge in new york has thrown out the google books settlement. he ruled today that google's
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plans to profit from creating a universal digital library would "simply go too far." the settlement between the company and u.s. authors and publishers totaled $125 million. rival companies, consumer groups, and others opposed it. google has already scanned more than 15 million books for the project. the federal perjury trial of former baseball star barry bonds began today in san francisco. in opening statements, his lawyer insisted bonds' trainer gave him steroids, but told him they were flax seed oil and arthritis cream. the federal prosecutor called the claims "ridiculous and unbelievable." bonds faces charges that he lied about using performance- enhancing drugs. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to gwen. >> ifill: and back to the libya story: who's going to take charge if the u.s., as promised, steps back. margaret warner has that. >> warner: president obama has said from the outset the u.s. wants to hand over lead of the military operation within "days, not weeks."
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but figuring out who would assume control has proved contentious among the europeans. despite several heated nato meetings, an agreement has been elusive. to explain and explore all this, we're joined by charles kupchan, director of european studies at the council on foreign relations. he was on the national security council staff in the clinton administration. and daniel dombey, a diplomatic correspondent for the "financial times." welcome to you both. let's jump right into this. daniel, i'll begin with you. there were some conflicting signals today. paris, london, the obama team traveling all talking to this about whether there's any agreement on who will assume control or command. will do things stand? >> where things stand is we've had a theo logical debate over the last two or three days. they finally agreed or they almost agreed that nato can help command and control the operation so nato can help run the operation.
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what's left are the minor details of who is going to command it. what the goals are. they've spent two or three gays having a debate where the british and french seem to be at loggerheads. the turks have been angry. now they finally agreed that to do a deal just what remains will actually work out what that deal is. >> warner: you mean the really big questions haven't been resolved? >> the deal will almost certainly involve nato providing its command and control facilities to help control. the u.s. and the brits have said there isn't really alternative to the americans who want to do it and nato which can do this and wants to do this in terms of coordinating effort. but what the french have said is that it sends exactly the wrong message for it to be a nato mission. that might alienate arab countries. so you have this idea that it is going to be nato command and control but not a nato mission. that seems to make sense to diplomats. that kind of debate is the sort of thing that just adds to the whole long-running british-french tensions.
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just wait until we discover where a british commander and a french commander. i think lond and and paris may have opinions about that. >> warner: yes, they may. why is this important, this issue? >> well, i think we're in an unusual situation which is that the united states got into this mission but doesn't want to be in the lead. i think obama has been saying, where are our partners? why do we always hold the bag. finally the europeans have actually stepped up to plate. he's saying good, we want you to assume more of the burden. that means that the leadership that the u.s. provides and that the unity of command that comes with a nato... isn't there yet and probably won't be there. the french are saying to some extent lee might jat me if this is a nato mission it will be hard to get qatar or the united arab emirates or the others because of their image of putting their airplanes under the command of nato which doesn't have the best of reputation in many parts of the muslim world. the issue is, are there ultimately going to be too
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many cooks in the kitchen? i think what daniel said is right. nato's command and control assets will be key. in other words, the guys sitting behind the control panels, watching the radar, commanding the planes. >> warner: which planes going in at what point. >> right. that will be done any nato. they know what they're doing. they have the equipment. they have to do it. but the question is, who will actually be above them? where will the political guidance come from? where will the target selection come from? it looks like what will happen is it will get some kind of ad hoc command structure consisting of perhaps as many as a dozen of the countries that have skin in the game. but that then raises the question, what if one says, well, i don't like this. we've already seen in bosnia and kosovo and afghanistan those were nato missions, it's hard to get a consensus. what's going to happen when we don't have the nato command at the top. >> warner: daniel, back to you. if you talk about going forward this mission and once,
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let's say, libyan air defenses really are totally destroyed and it's clear apparently already that libyans aren't using their air space, is there now agreement among the nato partners about what the new mission would look like or is there also some disagreement there about how far to go? >> i think there is real deep disagreements. the problem is that you have the usa and the u.k. and other countries saying that qaddafi must go. that isn't part of the u.n. mission. the u.n. mission is to protect civilians. you might say the best way for the civilians to be protected is for qaddafi to go. that's not what the u.n. resolution says. you have the possibility that this could go on for a long time if qaddafi stays. i was speaking today to admiral william fallon who was a former head of u.s. stram command. he help set up a no fly zone in iraq in 1991. he said to me we had no idea that would go for this staggering expense. >> warner: and did you say that it's very hard then to sustain some kind of loose,
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what, political committee that would run all of this if it is sustained, charles? >> i think a lot depends on what happens in the next few week. there's a benign version which is that this is largely a use of force against fixed assets. the no fly zone goes in. the qaddafi regime starts to crumble. maybe he goes into exile. we can sort of step back. if that doesn't happen and the rebels start moving against the regime and they expect nato to be their air force and we then have the choice of going beyond civilian protection but actually taking sides that's when i think the rubber will meet the road and you'll see serious splits in this coalition. we're not there yet. but i think that's why it's very important to make sure that you get the command and the unity of command right. otherwise two or three weeks down the road it could be a mess. >> warner: but it's one thing to talk about unity of military command but you're talking about political
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control. that's really where these differences will come into play, right? >> absolutely. you also are seeing one of those fantastic multi-headed beasts that international diplomacy and no one much likes. the french for example who have been very active in this talking about setting up a parallel structure. foreign ministers from arab countries, european countries to talk about the political goals. even as nato is in charge for helps run the command and control. and i hate to say it the recipe of confusion but it sounds like a recipe of something of that order. >> warner: and enough to make any military man's head spin, charles kupchan? >> well, you know, the nato structure, multi-national op erlgss are great because they provide legitimacy. they share the burden. the problem is they're hard to run. we don't have much choice because this is a multi-national operation. but i do think that this is not just showmanship. but ultimately you've got to get the command structure right because it will determine the outcome of the
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mission to a large extent. >> warner: we have very little time, daniel. a quick final question. if the u.s. continues to participate in some fashion, who will be in charge of u.s. forces? whose command will they be under? >> i hope that the people who have been involved have seen samuel lockleer who is in charge in the communication in the mediterranean sea. he's been u.s. forces in africa run by general carter ham. those are going to be in bold. i think the u.s. would want to be very involved but it doesn't want to keep flying planes. it doesn't want to keep sailing ships in this way. president obama just said he hopes it won't be the case much longer. >> warner: we have to leave it there. thank you both. >> brown: now, the latest on the disaster in japan. crews took a major step today toward easing the danger at a crippled nuclear plant.
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they hooked up new power lines to all six reactors at the fukushima daiichi site. plans called for trying to restart the cooling system tomorrow, if all the equipment checks out. at the same time, japanese officials also warned that radiation has contaminated the water supply in a village 20 miles away. meanwhile, recovery efforts escalated across the stricken region. we have a report from alex oooonmsf independent television news. he's in sendai, the city that was closest to the quake's epicenter. >> reporter: it might not seem much to you, but believe me it's a huge step that you now can actually drive up the points at sendai airport's departure terminal. the united states marine corps will already be there to greet you, moving out cars, tree trunks, you name it, to make more space. and extraordinarily that really does seem to be a u.s.
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air force transport plane making final approach to landing. up on the roof this is the cc-tv camera. and this is the events registered and showed to the world just ten days ago. inundating everything around here of 10 feet for more. 10 days on. some progress thanks to japan's self-defense force and the americans. the american contribution early air traffic control because the quake had knocked out the control tower completely. down the road the airport is not anymore a bowling alley. it's a mortuary. relatives collect their coffins and the personal effects from their loved ones. the government says more than
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9,000 people are now confirmed dead in this tsunami and earthquake. we went down to the seaport here in this city of a million people to find out if their appearances of destruction were also something. true, there is an enormous amount of damage here. but yet of the walls at least two boats already docked and working. they're not unloading. they're simply casting off the nets that lies on the key side but it is another beginning. >> brown: and to judy woodruff. >> woodruff: for more on the progress being made, and what lies ahead in japan, we're joined by the japanese ambassador to washington, ichiro fujisaki. mr. ambassador, thank you very much. >> thank you very much for having me. >> first our condolences on the loss of so many of your countrymen and women. >> thank you very much.
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more than 9,000 people are found to be dead. more than 13,000 are still missing. there are some good news. for example just two days ago, as you have seen, two people, a grandmother and a 15-year-old grandson were found, search-and-rescue is still going on. >> woodruff: how is the recovery going overall? >> we have to be coping with three issues. search-and-rescue. supplying basic human needs like food, electricity, water and shelter. and coping with the nuclear issue. power plant issue. as for electricity coming back, about 220,000 or so households are out of electricity. >> woodruff: still a lot. >> but the shelters, all these
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are huge problems still. >> woodruff: your prime minister called this the worst disaster for japan since world war ii. how do the people of japan come back from this? >> this is a very big challenge for us. but one thing that we find a little encouraging even in this circumstance is all the people in the world are trying to help us. and also people are trying to cope with their situation honorably. very few looting and things like that. trying to be rather patient and resilient. we hope that we'll come back soon. it will take time. but we are coming back. >> let's turn to the nuclear issue. you mentioned it yourself. how close are the workers at the plant, fish... officials
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there, the plant, to making it safe? >> this is difficult to pre-judge. the situation changes every day. but we feel that we have approaching a stage where we could control this situation. i don't say that we have arrived. we are trying to approach that. there are six reactors we have to take care of. sometimes smoke comes out. we have to put the water. this activity is going on every day. >> woodruff: how doo you define getting it under control? what is that going to mean. when what will have happened? >> to bring it under control means that we don't... we're not... we have the predictability of how it is. we don't have to be worried that tomorrow another accident may happen.
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it will gradually cool down. we're trying to cool down the situation. the reactor itself and the port with the fuel rods. that is exactly what we're working on. >> woodruff: i'm sure you're aware of these new reports, mr. ambassador, that the plants, the plants that are now damaged were storing more uranium than they were designed to hold. that they were skipping some of the mandatory checks, safety checks, that were supposed to have been done. what do you know about this? >> i'm not informed of what kind of failure there was in procedure. we have to look into that carefully. we really have to ascertain what there was. but i don't think we should jump to a confusion... conclusion that there was some mistake or whatever. there are people who would like to draw one conclusion out of it.
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but i don't think we are in a situation where we can really see the whole picture. >> woodruff: we've also heard, mr. ambassador, a number of japanese sit zechbs saying they don't think your government has fully leveled with them, has not been fully forth coming with everything it knows about what is going on at the plants, at the nuclear plants. >> i know that there are people who are saying this. after this kind of huge shock, it's natural that a day or two there is confusion. it's not intentional. the government is trying to be as transparent as possible, trying to put out all the data and also exchange, for example, information with your experts. there are more than 50 experts from the united states there in japan, the n.r.c., and we're trying to exchange and also this is a matter of safety. the government should be transparent and is
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transparent. >> woodruff: but there have been discrepancies between what your government has recommended in terms of safety and, say, what u.s. officials have recommended. >> exactly. of course it depends on the government... what kind of... you're talking about the range and all of that. >> woodruff: right. >> they are different. >> woodruff: and you're saying how do you explain that? >> we have explained that, yes, in the... if you're in a foreign country, you would take a more conservative posture towards evacuation rather than if you're really managing the country because if you're... the government has been knowing all the circumstances that... it's a very natural... for the foreign government to take more conservative attitude towards the people of your
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country. >> woodruff: just finally very quickly, how worrieded are you about the safety right now? >> food safety. safety must be the top priority. here in the united states and in japan as well, we have been taking a very cautious attitude about food safety. we are monitoring very carefully. some of the vegetables and dairy products you have seen that we have brought in distribution and restriction. we are monitoring it. if there's anything that... we are going to be concerned, we'll take proper measures. this is a very top priority not only for the foreigners but for the japanese. >> woodruff: ambassador thank you very much for coming in and talking with us. >> thank you very much for having me. can i say one more thing.
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>> woodruff: yes. >> we in japan are so grateful to americans for extending their help, support, to us. your forces are working day and night. your rescue teams were one of the first teams to be there. and i'm talking with your government officials every day several times. your people are really extending great support to us. the contribution, sympathy, red cross, ngos, your companies and you are standing with us in really a time of need. we are very grateful. i just wanted to express that. >> woodruff: i'm sure that's appreciated. thank you again. >> thank you very much. >> ifill: next, today is world water day.
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tonight we look at an innovative approach to getting clean water to slum dwellers in so-called mega-cities. our story is another in our occasional reports about population issues around the globe. it's part of a collaboration with "national geographic" magazine and the pulitzer center on crisis reporting, and comes from special correspondent steve sapienza in bangladesh. >> reporter: dahka, the capital of bangladesh is one of the world's fastest growing cities and one of the poorest. as in many other developing countries, people are leaving the countryside in search of work and a better life in the city. dahka's population, now estimated at 15 million, is expected to hit 20 million by 2025. >> dahka is one of the mega cities which is growing too too fast. >> reporter: country director for the charity water aid, says the increased pop laying density is severely taxing the city's ability to house and care for its people. >> almost 5,000 slums are in and around dahka city.
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almost one third of the population are living in... at the low-income communities. most of them don't have ownership over those pieces of land. but the main challenge is provisioning essential services for this huge number of population, mainly water and sanitation. >> reporter: with 2,000 newcomers daily, the struggle to find clean water in the slums often has life-threatening consequences. >> water? yes, we have water but the water is not always available. when water is available, it is often bad. yesterday a woman here thought she had cholera. she went to the hospital, but she died last night. >> reporter: if you want to see the human toll exacted by unsafe water and poor sanitation in dahka, you come here. this is the overflow tank at the short stay unit at dahka's main cholera and diarrhea hospital. this man arrived at the
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hospital with no vital signs. after 15 minutes of trying to revive him, his wife... the staff reports cholera as the cause of death. the hospital's lead research scientist and his colleagues work around the clock 365 days a year to save lives threatened by water-born illness. the majority of the patients here are the urban poor, and the hospital care is free. >> sometime (inaudible). 120,000 patients in a year. this hospital is a quite busy one. most of them have e-coli diarrhea and cholera diarrhea. these are coming through with
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contamination. >> reporter: most patients are released within 12 to 24 hours of receiving treatment but at a nearby clinic, two newcomers to dahka have been battling the illness for five days. this person believes her baby became ill after drinking water in a shared well. when the baby is finally cleared to leave the attending doctors warns that the baby needs safe drinking water, regular meals and rest. she rents a small room at a nearby slum for $20 a month. she shares cooking, water and toilet facility with 25 neighbors. neighbors say the shared well provided by the landlord is not deep enough to avoid contamination. many here complain of frequent dysentery and the evidence is everywhere. she knows the conditions are unsafe. but she already pays more than she can afford to live here. >> i know it's not a if situation but what am i supposed to do. >> reporter: the job of supplying safe water to residents belongs to the dahka water and sewage authority. residents need city approval
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before they can extract water or connect to city water pipes. but approval to use city water is only given to residents who can provide proof of land ownership. this leaves four million slum dwellers without legal access to city water. with few options they end up paying high prices for suspect water supplied by slum lords or they buy costly bottled water from the roving carts of water sharks. still others tap illegally into city water pipes. >> the authority was with the system that was tied with house ownership. that actually forced us to talk with them. why is it not possible to provide water to slum dwellers. >> reporter: people lobbied the city to give a water license to a start-up on behalf of slum communities. >> they explained at that time that they were giving water only to people who have their own houses. so we tried to link them with
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the dahka water and authority. >> reporter: linking slums to city water services meant it assumed the risk if the slum dwellers failed to play the water bill. but they knew they would pay their bills. >> a win-win situation actually because dahka wanted revenue. on the other hand, poor people they wanted the water. they immediately see the economic advantage of getting access to water supply because that is cheap in comparison to private. in that way it started. >> reporter: ngo-packed water access points are sprouting up in the slums all over dahka. each community forms a water committee that pays to install the pump and for the cost of operation and maintenance. these committees also collect and pay the water bills. the success of earlier ngo- backed water points now
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enables community groups in slums to negotiate directly with the city for legal water access without gog help. >> anybody living in urban slums can apply for the service. if they are will to go pay they have no problem. >> reporter: today there are over 1,000 water connections in hundreds of slums. that leaves 5,000 slums with no such service. >> today there are slums and quarters where the services are not available. >> reporter: new residents like these are arriving every week. the need for more city to slum water connections will remain urgent. >> ifill: steve's report >> ifill: steve's report was a partnership with the pulitzer center on crisis reporting. for more on the population project follow a link on our web site at newshour.pbs.org. >> brown: finally tonight, assessing how consumers will fare with a major cellphone company merger. ray suarez has the story. >> suarez: a proposed new giant in the cell phone world has people talking and some
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consumers wondering about the impact. as one customer put it:. >> competitive. >> reporter: but. >> i'll get an i-phone now. >> reporter: at&t, the nation's second largest care yes plans to buy t-mobile in a deal valued at $39 billion. the combined company would become the largest u.s. carrier with nearly 130on million customers. at&t wants to acquire more air waves or spectrum to support the high volume data need of devices like smart phones. >> the purpose of this transaction is that you have two companies who have very complimentary spectrums which is very valuable in this industry to bring these services to market. >> reporter: but the deal would also reduce the number of national wireless carriers from four to three with verize ob wireless currently the largest carrier and sprint a distant third. as an industry conference in florida today, sprint's ceo dan hessy said, "i do have
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concerns that it would stifle innovation. and too much power would be in the hands of two." with the proposed company representing 43% of all u.s. cell phones, it's sure to face federal communications commission scrutiny over network access and justice department concerns over competition. >> suarez: for more now about the deal and what it means for consumers, we're joined by jeffrey silva, a senior policy director for medley global advisors, a financial consulting firm that works with telecom companies. prior to that, he had spent more than 20 years covering the industry as a reporter. and gigi sohn is president and co-founder of public knowledge, a non-profit group focusing on consumers and communication concerns in the digital age. let's start with price. what's the immediate impact on consumers if this deal goes through, not only the customers of the two companies in question, but anyone who has a cell phone account. gigi? >> we're talking about the
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combination of the second largest and fourth largest wireless carrier. national wireless carrier. when you have that kind of accommodation that reduces competition. when you reduce competitioning it reduces consumer choice. it raises prices. it reduces innovation. importantly for this administration it also results in fewer jobs. >> suarez: jeffrey sill virginia. >> i think it's a mixed bag right now. i think the jury is still out on what the impact would be. the combined companies have vowed to extend coverage to areas where it's economically not feasible right now. and with the added spectrum, service quality could increase as well. residents who have never had i- phone, haven't had access to i- phone or ipad, they will gain access. as far as whether prices go up or down, the trend in the
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wireless industry has been to date that even as there have been increased consolidation, prices have come down. that doesn't mean that trend will stay that way, but that's been the trend in the past decade. >> suarez: in the particular case of at&t taking over t- mobile, t-mobile was known as a low-cost provider in this competition of the big national players. by taking out that particular company, does it lift some of the downward pressure on prices? >> it could. and i think that will be a flash point in the debate over this merger. i think policy makers, both at the fcc, congress and the justice department, will look closely at that. and it could be that that is addressed if the merger moves forward toward approval in conditions. i would note that in recent
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fcc merger approvals that has involved broadband, the fcc has extracted concessions whereby their low-cost pricing tiers for broadband for a number of year. it may be that in this case to win approval at&t would have to make a similar concession. >> suarez: you heard jeffrey sill virginia bring up the possibility of improvements in service, in coverage, because that's been a blind spot for both these individual companies but perhaps as merged they have a more filled- in american map. is that a counterveiling value here? >> i don't believe so. at&t could take the $39 billion it wants to pay for t- mobile and improve its network right now. what they're doing is they're taking the easy way out. instead of taking all their money-- and they've got lots of it-- and putting it into improving their network,
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building out the spectrum they already have. they have a lot of spectrum they haven't built out yet, and improving their service they're instead buying off a competitor. let me talk about the prices that jeff talked about. he talked about how the g.a.o.did a study showing that cell phone prices have not increased, had gone down in ten years even though there was some consolidation. that was for cellular phone service. nobody uses the phone anymore. the "new york times" just had a story about that. today it's all about broadband. it's about broadband internet access. it's about text messaging. there's no evidence that during the times of consolidation those prices have gone down. in fact, what you're seeing right now and what at&t does a lot of is the so-called broadband caps, the band width caps. in other words it says if you go over five giga-bits of usage in a month you have to pay overage fees. that turns out to be very expensive if you go over.
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>> suarez: jeffrey sill virginia, what about that? people are using it, yes, as a phone but also as a way to surf the web, to play games, to text, to do many other things besides just have a conversation. >> it's true that the nature of the industry has changed. it's all about data, it's all about multi-media content. and to some extent the carriers are underwriting or sub dif siding the cost of the equipment in order to get new customers, but there's no doubt that that is the growth area of these wireless companies. as far as the purchase.... >> suarez: wait, wait, underwriting the equipment so that you can subscribe to expensive new services, right? >> yes but there's choices on tiers so you're not tied into any one. they give you different tiering, different pricing arrangements that you can enter into and so you're not locked into one. you have some choice. >> if i could just add, there are other extra fees that
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occur. if you want to cancel your contract before two years, you have to pay heavy termination fees. and sometimes upwards of $200. so there's all this kind of hidden cost. having a two-year contract.... >> suarez: but is that necessarily implicated by this deal? will that be easier to do or less easy to do based on the terms of what the federal government says as a referee okay, you can go ahead with this merger? >> as you indicated, you know, t-mobile has a reputation and a history of being a lower-cost carrier. having unlimited data plans. being more flexible with openness and, you know, what applications you could use on their network. they've been a very, very big promoter of android which is the google operating system. at&t has been the exact opposite. it's been more closed. it has a long history of blocking applications. i can discuss that google phone. if you don't want me to do. >> suarez: our time is limited. jeff, respond to that.
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>> i think again the industry... what is happening here is that at&t is making a bet on the future. it has spectrum now but a lot of this deal goes to the issue of what drives a wireless industry. there's a limited amount of spectrum. the demands on the networks are increasing, and the fixed line businesses of telephone companies like at&t and verizon, that's a waning business. so they're making a bet on the future. they need spectrum. while the federal communications commission is aggressively trying to find new spectrum or free up existing spectrum that other services hold, that is a very long-term endeavor. and i think they realize that. they went for this deal. >> suarez: thank you both.
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>> ifill: again, the major developments of the day. coalition missiles pounded libyan targets again, but moammar qaddafi's forces launched heavy attacks on two cities. a u.s. attack plane crashed in eastern libya. both crewmen were recovered, but the u.s. rescuers mistakenly fired on friendly civilians, wounding several. and in japan, engineers hooked up new power lines at a damaged nuclear plant. they'll try to restart the cooling system tomorrow. and that's the newshour for tonight. on wednesday, miles o'brien reports on the future of u.s. nuclear power in the wake of the disaster in japan . i'm gwen ifill. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions
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